The act of stopping for pedestrians when we drive encapsulates many good qualities:
- Consideration: for others and the situation.
- Patience: not being hurried.
- Presence: actually noticing that people are waiting in the first place.
- Intention: overcoming inertia and momentum with a deliberate decision to stop.
- Leadership by example: do you ever notice that when one vehicle stops, the cars in adjacent lanes also stop?
As drivers, pedestrians are a good daily reminder of the world beyond ourselves and the disparity between ourselves and others.
Like anything, if you're not used to stopping, it won't come naturally. It takes practice.
The first step is intention (noticing the thing), followed by consideration (caring about the thing), followed by action (doing the thing).
After enough practice, we can eventually recondition our automatic responses.
Once we recondition ourselves through practice, pedestrians are just one of the beneficiaries.
For not only have we reconditioned ourselves to stop for pedestrians, but we've actually become more considerate, patient, present, deliberate, and comfortable with leading than we were before.
The benefits of one simple practice spill over to other parts of our lives and become exponentially more impactful.
Peter Koehler's Writing Archive